How to Tell if Your Furnace Is Leaking Carbon Monoxide

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Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, transparent gas often produced by heating systems and equipment found in many households, such as boilers or furnaces. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal, so it’s important to be alert for signs of a carbon monoxide leak in your home.

Signs of a carbon monoxide leak

Although carbon monoxide leaks are often difficult to discern due to the nature of the gas, there are a few signs to look for that may indicate an increased amount of carbon monoxide in your home, including:
  • Dizziness, fatigue, nausea/vomiting, or disorientation
  • Heavy condensation or water dripping on windows
  • Brownish-yellow stains on your furnace that resemble soot
  • The pilot light in your stove begins to frequently blow out
  • The burner flame on your stove turns yellow instead of blue
  • Lack of an upward draft in chimney flue
  • Unusual odors (air can smell burnt, stale, or overheated)
  • Damaged heat exchanger, flue pipe, or chimney
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you may want to consider assessing your situation and either calling the fire department or hiring a professional to handle the situation.

How to prevent carbon monoxide leaks

Because it’s difficult to identify a carbon monoxide leak or buildup in the air, many homes are equipped with alarms that will alert you if the amount of carbon monoxide in the air reaches dangerous levels. However, there a few additional precautions you can take to help you prevent carbon monoxide leaks in the future.
Get your home’s heating systems inspected annually: This includes all gas appliances, chimneys, vents, furnaces, and any other built-in heating appliances. You’re going to want to trust the professionals for this one, as they will be able to identify small and/or upcoming issues that can be remedied or protected to prevent future damage.
Keep your home well-vented at all times: This means no grills, barbecues, charcoal fuels, or other appliances that release large amounts of smoke indoors. You will also want to get your air ventilation systems inspected annually to make sure everything is functioning properly and up to code.
Change your air filter regularly: You can either do this one yourself or hire a professional, but the most important thing is that it gets done. Be sure to examine your filters regularly to see if they need to be cleaned, replaced, or if they have any suspicious substances on them that may indicate damage within the system.

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